From Facilitation to Instruction: Supplementing Online "Master Courses" through Multimodal Communication and Technology

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The pre-designed nature of an online “master course” can make faculty unsure of how to rise beyond the role of Facilitator to that of Instructor; however, master courses can be taught creatively. This session will empower faculty to actively teach and supplement a master course through technology and engagement.


Christine L. Webster-Hansen has a Ph.D. in English from Temple University and an M.A. in English from Rutgers. With over 20 years of experience working in higher education, she was a tenured professor for 14 years as well as a faculty chairperson. Eventually, she became an assistant dean of arts and sciences, and she is currently the Assistant Dean of e-Learning at Ocean County College in NJ. She has been teaching and developing online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses for over a decade. In her present role, she oversees performance evaluations for online instructors as well as student support and academic integrity for online students. She regularly contributes to a virtual professional development series for faculty and hosts a monthly adjunct roundtable. Christine also writes creative nonfiction, and one of her pieces is scheduled for publication in the summer 2021 issue of the literary journal Canary.
As a Lead Instructional Designer at Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey, I work to design and manage the distance learning master courses within the Arts and Humanities areas. I also have over a decade of teaching and adult training experience within the corporate world and in higher education. Both within my work as an ID and as a parent, I advocate for students with disabilities by focusing on Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility compliance. I've published dozens of articles and research in journals such as: 'Does Remote Learning Work?' International Journal of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, Vol. 8. Issue 8. 2021. and 'Dumping Kids with IEPs into General Education Classrooms is Not Inclusion' remains a viral piece that has been shared over 3 million times. Other creative works have been published by Scary Mommy, Pop Sugar, Age of Awareness, and Finding Cooper’s Voice.
I enjoy supporting Faculty with all issues related to course maintenance, design, and educational technology. I have worked in Higher Education for 17 years and have worked at Graduate Schools, 4-Year Private and 2-Year Public. In my free time I enjoy the outdoors and visiting the National Parks with my wife and three daughters.

Extended Abstract

One of the challenges of teaching a pre-designed master course, particularly in an asynchronous format, is the common misconception that instructors are powerless to engage or build meaningful relationships with their students. When presented with fully written lectures and assignments, some faculty may feel displaced, wondering what role they can play beyond grading written work and responding to students’ emails. Particularly in departments where changes to master courses are not permitted, it can be easy for instructors to feel less accountability for learning outcomes in courses they did not develop. This session, though, will explain how online faculty can find their voice, offer expertise, and enhance learning without breaking from protocol. Covering a range of emerging instructional technologies, the presenters will bring their experience from multiple perspectives: those of a Professor, Instructional Designer, Educational Technologist, and Assistant Dean in a department where faculty are evaluated on their ability to supplement an online master course.

First, the presenters will model available uses for screen-capture recordings, elucidating their potential for deciphering difficult passages, interpreting still images, and explaining a process. Then they will transition to the creation of individualized recorded messages for students, which are useful in student-support efforts and personalized grading feedback.

Moving from pre-recordings to live sessions, the presenters will illustrate uses for web conferencing, ranging from holding office hours to hosting optional synchronous lectures while remaining mindful of ADA requirements. Illustrating uses for breakout groups and live polling, the presenters will invite the audience to complete a live survey. This segment of the presentation will conclude with an explanation of how free polling software can even work asynchronously through practice quizzes, surveys, or discussion posts.

The presenters will then offer tips for where to find ready-made resources, offer self-authored materials, and elaborate on rubrics. Session attendees will learn how to maximize their course announcements page, email messaging, grading feedback, and discussion boards, using each as an opportunity for supplementation and active teaching.

Finally, the presenters will highlight the components of a successful faculty-training program based on their department’s model of establishing clear expectations for permissible course supplement, and maintaining an active evaluation and professional development program.

While the presentation will focus on the Canvas LMS and humanities disciplines, ideas will be transferable to other LMS platforms and disciplines. Moreover, while the session will focus on asynchronous courses, most tools will be useful in synchronous environments.